In the wake of the Season 10 premiere, many viewers questioned whether Deeks’ and Kensi’s argument at the end of Season 9 would ever be more directly addressed on the show. That premiere saw them reconcile with only a brief exchange, with Deeks telling Kensi, “I was wrong, I wanna marry you.” What are we to make of this, especially when combined with Eric Christian Olsen telling wikiDeeks that though the two characters haven’t yet had a deeper conversation, it’s not important because for Deeks: “…It doesn’t matter to him the timeline of when these things happen, as far as kids and her staying in or getting out. Whether it’s two years or five years or fifteen years it doesn’t matter, he just wants to be with her.”
Is Deeks giving into Kensi’s desires, allowing her to dictate their future? If so, is that OK? And how might that decision affect both of them in the long run? Psyched and Karen P. discussed the topic, with Psyched taking the view that this turn of events is perfectly acceptable, and Karen taking the side that it’s decidedly not.
Karen: OK, I’ll start this off by saying that I’m a little upset at what I see as Deeks caving in to Kensi’s wishes. Hopefully we just haven’t been given the full picture yet, but from Eric’s quote above as well as the similar things he shared in our interview with him, I’m not sure that’s the case.
Psyched: I get where you’re coming from Karen, but I don’t believe that Deeks caved in to Kensi’s wishes. That phrase suggests that after the initial argument in the garage they continued to discuss or argue the matter and that Kensi ultimately wore Deeks down until he gave up and gave her what she wanted, which is untrue.
I think it’s more accurate to say that Deeks changed his mind. He was seriously injured and as a result realized that NCIS or no NCIS, kids or no kids, he would rather be with Kensi than without her. Eric said this very well in his response that included: “…I’d rather take two moments [with her], than a hundred with somebody else.”
Karen: OK, maybe “caving” is too strong a term- just call me protective of my favorite character! I get what you’re saying about them not really discussing it further and that Deeks has changed his mind without any badgering from Kensi. But he appears to be choosing between two options here when in fact, there are three. Deeks sees it as a choice between breaking up with Kensi to find someone else who might want a family, and a safer lifestyle (the “Hundred Moments” option), versus going along with Kensi for as long as she wants to stay in the job- or until one of them is killed- the “Two Moments” version. For Deeks, option #1, leaving Kensi, is simply unthinkable. But a third option would be some sort of compromise involving time limits, plans to try to have kids, or at least plans for Deeks to move on to a safer job.
Psyched: I agree that there is another option for Densi, but that’s more long-term at this point. Their immediate concern was whether to even get married, and nearly dying made Deeks decide that as long as they were together, the rest could come in time. I don’t think Deeks has necessarily given up on option #3, nor should he. But he knows his partner well enough to understand that she still needs time and that they will eventually come to some sort of resolution, hopefully in the form of a compromise.
Karen: I guess that’s where I feel slightly disappointed in Kensi. It’s not that she’s demanding or dictating anything at this point. It’s more like she’s happy to take advantage of the fact that Deeks has given up on option #3, at least for now. Waiting for the “eventual resolution” you describe is a risky strategy for Deeks; as he put it, “The longer we stay in, the better chance this ends really poorly for us.”
Psyched: No doubt about that, but it’s clearly a risk he’s willing to take for now. I do have to quibble with the idea that Kensi is “taking advantage,” though, because she didn’t push for this or manipulate anything to get Deeks to change his mind. That said, she’s certainly not looking this gift horse in the mouth either! Hopefully Kensi considers it a temporary reprieve on that discussion.
Back to one of the original questions, if Deeks is allowing Kensi to dictate their future, I think it is a future he was satisfied with until recently. We’ve never seen Deeks push Kensi about when to leave NCIS the way he did in the finale. In fact, in “Assets” Deeks acknowledged that would have been “selfish” (“I’m not saying that you have to quit this job that you love, ’cause that would be selfish, and I wouldn’t say that. But maybe it’s time that I do.”).
Karen: Fair enough, I’m happy to rephrase “taking advantage” to your “gift horse” analogy. And very good point, Deeks has always been 100% supportive of Kensi’s career and her Wonder Woman nature. It’s one of the things I love most about him. You’re also right that until relatively recently, he’s continued in that vein, never wanting her to have to change who she is. But over time we have seen them talk about having children and their ramifications, albeit in a frustratingly inconsistent way. For example, a full season before “Assets,” Deeks asks Kensi in “High Value Target,” “In all seriousness though, how much longer are you gonna do this?… I’m just saying that you’d also be an amazing mom.”
Aside from the dilemma that comes with potential mutant ninja assassins, the other factor that’s dramatically changed over time has been Deeks’ stress level at work. He’s almost seemed borderline PTSD over having to worry about Kensi being killed, or never waking from her coma, or having her leg sawed off, or getting nuked in a missile silo, or… I could go on. As Eric said in our interview, “when it comes to Kensi this is the first real relationship, and probably the first thing he’s ever really loved in his life… the idea of losing that I think is kind of too much to carry.” Deeks (and Eric) may say he’s OK with a Two Moment life with Kensi, but of course he really wants the Hundred Moments with her. I think that’s what drives his fear and his push to get them both out of their dangerous jobs, even more so than his desire for kids.
Psyched: You are absolutely right that Deeks is more concerned with getting them both to the next phase of their lives (whatever it may be) alive after the traumas of the last few years. I’m sure Kensi wants that too, but she’s more willing than Deeks to continue to press their luck because, as she said in “High Value Target,” “Protecting people is all I know. And if I wasn’t doing this I don’t know what I’d be doing.” They both agree that once children come they want to be out of their dangerous jobs (“I wouldn’t do this if we had kids.”), but Kensi seems motivated to stay in longer because she defines herself so much by her career. Perhaps she fears leaving will change who she is?
Karen: OK, I think I better take a moment to say, for the record, that I am not arguing that Kensi should agree to give up her career ever if she doesn’t want to, kids or no kids. I think Deeks should– and would– respect her desire to do that. At this point, they both seem to want kids and to want to leave- or at least agree it would be best to leave- if kids happen. In other words, leaving would be something Kensi agrees makes sense. But I’m also definitely not saying that Kensi would need to be the stay at home parent. (I actually think Deeks would enjoy that role more. Or heck, the grandmas could provide plenty of free daycare.)
I’d just like to see this dilemma discussed, and see their respective desires hashed out in a little detail. And I’d really like to see Kensi listening to Deeks about his desire to get out of their line of work. To truly hear what he’s saying every time he brings it up (e.g., your “Assets” quote above). Instead of telling him how much she loves working with him, how integral it is to their identity as a couple, I’d prefer to see her encouraging him to explore other options, both for his mental health as well as his physical safety. But just as Kensi defines herself more by her job than Deeks does, perhaps she defines them as a couple that way too.
Psyched: I can’t argue with you there Karen! I think their personal and professional lives are so interwoven that Kensi has a hard time imagining what they would be like as a couple without the job being such a huge part of their life.
To address one of the original debate questions, how will Deeks’ declaration in the hospital impact them in the long run? I don’t see it necessarily having a negative impact. Deeks tends to be the first one to reach out to make things better between them (like when he offered to “lighten up and take things more seriously” in “Empty Quiver,” and as evidenced by his “partner survey” response about how they settle disagreements in “Wanted”: “I apologize, even when it’s not my fault.”), so it really didn’t surprise me that he told Kensi he was “wrong” in the hospital. What did surprise me was that Kensi didn’t reciprocate immediately. But hopefully we’ll get that eventually. I would like to see Kensi tell Deeks he was right that the longer they stay in the job, the less likely they both get out alive, especially given his injury in Mexico. And perhaps this could prompt a discussion of a timeline for getting out of NCIS/LAPD.
Karen: Yes to all this! To me, the showrunners have done Kensi a disservice by not showing her trying to meet Deeks halfway, and by not showing her growing or changing as a result of Mexico. I mean, the whole Season 9 finale seemed to be set up to give Kensi just a small taste of the trauma that Deeks had suffered from worrying about her for the past two seasons, so that she’d gain a better understanding of what he’d gone through and where he’s coming from, which is a place of great fear and trauma.
Kensi tried to ask him about his experiences towards the end of Season 8, once she had recovered from the helicopter crash injuries. But she largely let him deflect those questions and never probed too deeply. Even in “The Silo,” where she heard his fear, acknowledged it and even somewhat agreed with it, by the following week she was right back at work like nothing had happened. Maybe that’s why she was supportive of the crazy bar idea, as a way to placate his constant talk of getting out? I’d just like to see her being a little more supportive of his dreams and his real need for a more stable and less scary life. Am I being too hard on her?
Psyched: I thought the same thing, that the whole point of Deeks being seriously injured in Mexico was so Kensi could have a come-to-Jesus moment and their argument would be resolved by Kensi being the one to change her mind. And now that the exact opposite has happened I have to wonder why. My current thought is that the showrunners are reluctant to put a timeframe on Deeks and Kensi getting out of the field because they don’t know how much longer the show will be on the air. Imagine them having Deeks and Kensi agree to leave NCIS and LAPD in two years and then the show continues for another five? How do they then realistically keep them in the field/on the show? Fertility issues? Sudden financial problems? A serious health scare? Not sure how well those would play in this kind of show.
It’s a good thought about why Kensi was so quick to support Deeks’ desire to own/run a bar—I admit I was stunned by her response. But not because I don’t think she’s supportive of Deeks; more because I think the bar is a horrible idea, but that’s a topic for another debate!
Are you being too hard on Kensi? Umm, maybe, LOL! In all fairness, they both went back to work the week after “The Silo” as if nothing had happened. Like pretty much everyone on the team usually does. I think that might be a function of TV vs. reality rather than a character flaw. In fact, we should probably be giving the writers kudos for letting the strain of the job show on Deeks. He’s the one on the team with the most consistently realistic and human response to what they routinely experience, in my opinion. Yet another reason he’s our favorite, probably!
Karen: Excellent observation about the procedural nature of the show, something Eric mentioned in our interview in reference to the lack of post-Mexico follow-up. And I couldn’t agree more about why Deeks is our favorite! Whereas he consistently shows vulnerability and strain, I think one of Kensi’s strengths/weaknesses is her ability to shake off traumatic events. It’s what allows her to keep doing what she does; in fact, it’s probably one of the things that makes her uniquely suited to doing this job. But it’s got to feel frustrating to Deeks, who comes at things from almost the opposite emotional perspective. He has a history of horrible and cumulative trauma, and he has seemed to be struggling more and more over time to deal with the stress of his job. I think it’s hard for Kensi to really understand what he’s going through, to relate to it, because she’s able to handle it so much better.
Psyched: I love this point, and I think it is spot-on. Kensi did let a small crack in her armor show in “The Silo” when she questioned how long they should keep doing such dangerous jobs. I thought Deeks’ response was great—he tossed it right back at Kensi and pointed out that she was the one who wanted to stay in, so when did she think they should get out? But even then, just a few hours after calling Deeks to say goodbye in case she died, Kensi couldn’t say anything more than “I don’t know.” That’s a perfect example of just how deeply-rooted Kensi’s desire to protect people is. In the end, Deeks loves her and has a habit of putting aside his wants and needs (when it comes to getting out of the field, at least) for Kensi’s, and she has a habit of letting him because it buys her more time in the career she loves.
On a totally different track, I also think it’s important to remember that we also only have Eric’s perspective on Deeks’ feelings, and no one’s perspective on Kensi’s (Eric’s or Dani’s). Perhaps he was being deliberate in his response, or perhaps the writers will give us Kensi’s as well. I find it hard to believe that the emotions we saw from her in the desert and what she experienced didn’t cause her to second-think their future.
Given Eric’s #askECO video response, I’m cautiously optimistic that this might still happen. “Here’s the way I play it; is that they should be [discussed again]. They have to be. So the conversations they will have. So look for that this season. And then look for that conversation and I think we’ll have the little contrasting POV on how he feels about those answers.” He says they will have the conversations (or at least he’s portraying Deeks as if they will, since TPTB don’t seem to have written it yet). And we’re supposed to look for that conversation, apparently. Though I admit to being thoroughly confused about what the “contrasting POV on how he feels about those answers” is supposed to mean.
Karen: You’re so right, we really don’t know for sure what Kensi’s position is. It feels to me like maybe these two have not yet discussed it further (which frustrates me but at least makes me feel like we aren’t being left out of important conversations). But we don’t know for sure. And even if they haven’t, Kensi’s mindset might still have changed since Mexico. I really hope Eric’s mysterious “contrasting POV” has something to do with Kensi’s changing feelings on their issues. But regardless, if the writers don’t tell us what Kensi’s POV view is, we have to infer it from the words and actions we see on screen.
Psyched: You know, watching the beach scene in “Pro Se” I thought that once again Kensi was seeing how much the job is wearing Deeks down and I wondered if coupled with what happened in Mexico, this would finally prompt more discussion between them about leaving. Obviously, it didn’t. I do think TPTB are doing Densi and their fans a disservice by not exploring the issue further. It’s not as if they don’t have the time. Do we really need more wedding planning discussions? Even the rest of the team is tired of hearing about it (thanks for that, PTB). It wouldn’t be difficult to replace those few minutes with some discussion a la “The Seventh Child” and “Assets,” where two adults talked about their future in a respectful manner.
Karen: From your lips to R. Scott Gemmill’s ears! The wedding planning has become laughable, unless it’s all a Densi plot to surprise their friends with an impromptu wedding. Here’s to more adult conversations!
OK, now it’s your turn to weigh in. Is Deeks in fact “caving”? Have we missed some key conversations or have these two just not got around to them yet? Has Kensi gained some perspective from Mexico? Do the showrunners owe us – and Kensi – a more thorough exploration of her point of view? And other than the way it keeps Eric on the show indefinitely, are you good with his plan to stay working with her, or do you worry it could get him killed? Tell us in the Comments below?